I actually set out to make a bean and bacon soup. When I checked the pantry I didn’t have any white beans but did have some aduki beans. Why would I have aduki beans, you might ask?
I sometimes watch this crazy show on BBC America called You are what you eat. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a British reality show centered around a natural nutritionist named Gillian McKeith. She busts in on a fat person or family, chastizes them for their bad eating habits and then puts them on an insanely strict diet for 8 weeks. It’s an entertaining show on many levels. I’m actually watching it right now as I type this.
One of the items on this strict diet is aduki beans, also called azuki or adzuki beans. These are the same beans that Chinese and Japanese cooks turn into red bean paste filling for pastries and other desserts. Gillian claims these beans have some super healthy benefits but is never too clear about what they are. Well, I just had make an aduki bean stew to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, the other ingredients in this were what happened to be aging in my fridge.
Aduki bean stew
- 2 strips of bacon, chopped (see below for the vegetarian version)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 mushrooms
- 1t thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 1 can of aduki beans, including the liquid
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon until crisp. Leave the bacon in the pan but drain out some of the excess fat and save it for something else. Add the celery, carrots and onions and cook for 10 min until starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 min. Add the thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock and aduki beans and simmer covered for 20min until thickened slightly. Take off the lid and cook until it is at the desired thickness. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
Let me start by saying that this tasted a LOT better than I thought it would. I would definitely make this again. You could substitute any beans and vary the vegetables. Root vegetables like potatoes, turnips or rutabegas would be delicious in this. Even sweet potatoes would be great in this. For a vegan version, substitute olive oil for the bacon and add brown rice or quinoa to make a complete protein. Going the other way, you could add some boneless country style ribs or chuck to turn this into a meaty stew. Fresh parsley would have been a nice addition at the end. Dang! I keep forgetting to pick that up when I’m shopping!
If you make this recipe or a variation of it, post a comment to tell us about it.